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Ethical Metalsmiths: Working to Eliminate the Dark Side of Jewelry

Africa produces 8.5 billion dollars in diamonds a year, yet over a million diamond miners live in poverty earning under one dollar a day.  For many, this is the equivalent of slave labor.   The demand for jewellery accounts for more than 80 percent of the gold mined currently, yet gold mining is the world’s leading cause of manmade mercury pollution, destroying the world's water and air supply.   Do you sense a disconnect here?Some of the world’s oldest and most precious commodities are acquired using methods that destroy the environment, devastate land, fish and animal species, and dismiss the human rights of workers around the globe. So what exactly is the cost of these jewels?   While many people are aware of unethical “blood diamond” mining in Africa in particular, gold mining is also especially problematic worldwide. Processing operations called heap-leaching and amalgamation use the harmful chemicals cyanide and mercury, respectively, to extract a minuscul ...

Sweaters: the Lusekofte of Norway

In the next few features we will examine the patterns and materials of several different traditional sweaters and see how tradition informs trends in design. Today, we’ll focus on the Lusekofte of Norway.

Interzum Preview Explores Smart Materials

Orgatec’s sister fair, the materials-focused Interzum, also occupies the Koelnmesse GmbH from May 5 – 8. A special Interzum preview was presented to Orgatec visitors – “Innovation of Interior: Smart Office Materials.”

Material Liability

At NeoCon earlier this month I saw an increasing trend towards using “greener,” “more natural,” and “less toxic” materials. But did you ever ask yourself “Why do they put all this stuff in materials anyway?” No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I am going to manufacture the most toxic products possible.” And yet there are many materials that the design community is now trying to avoid due to this very issue.

 

KGB Limited's Maxim Bench is a Lesson in Decadence with its Peacock Feather Upholstery

KGB Limited, known for their use of stunning materials, has designed a new bench that is literally fit for the gods! The Maxim bench has a base of solid walnut and silicon bronze, and the seat can come upholstered in peacock feathers. 

Plastic Gets a New Feel

The plastics industry has long focused on creating stronger, lighter and more efficient materials, but new innovations are improving how plastics feel and support our bodies when used in furniture. 

The Art of Wrapping

There is something about a wrapped up thing that delights us. Whether it is the wrapping paper on a present or artwork by that master of large scale wrapping Christo, we enjoy the bound surface and wonder what lies beneath.

Expanding your Design Vocabulary….with Arborite’s INK Collection

At NeoCon Arborite unveiled three new laminate patterns called the Ink collection. Each design is graphically bold and oh so new, but I could not help but see the connections with time honored decorative arts. Allow me to explain. 

Know Your Sheep (Breeds)!

We may think of engineered fibers as a relatively new phenomenon. But a good sheepherder knows that wool is actually the first “engineered” fiber. “How so?” you may ask. Because sheep breeds were refined and crossbred so the wool fibers would have specific performance properties.  

Bendheim Architectural Glass Identifies Three Industry Trends

We reached out to Bendheim Architectural Glass to see what they are doing to innovate in the world of glass and the following are three current trends they've identified...

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  • Mind Over Matter

    Grace Jeffers' love affair with materials began at nine years old, when the other students used paper doilies to decorate their Valentine’s Day project, she shingled hers in laminate.

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    The I&S editors’ blog will chronicle our adventures through the world of design and provide a behind-the-scenes look into the creation of the products and projects that inspire us day in and day out.

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